VOIP Recommendations?
April 22, 2008 5:35 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a VOIP provider that doesn't suck. Can anyone recommend one?

I was originally with Vonage for two years, until their service and customer service degraded. The fact that they didn't really have a business plan didn't help.

I switched to ViaTalk on a 2 year pre-paid plan. Their service and customer service was good. Until they started charging my credit card for E-911 without warning (I then politely asked about it and why I couldn't find any information about it on their website - their CSR replied after a month somewhat rudely and somehow managed to both blame me and lie). Combine that with the intermittent outages lately and I'm ready to ditch them.

I did find this thread, but it's from December of last year and might be outdated.

I'm considering Lingo but don't have any experience with them. I'm willing to pay more than I was for reliable service and CSRs that are reasonably helpful.

Number portability would be nice, but isn't critical. I can use a VoiceStick to park my number on and accept incoming calls.

I've considered Magic Jack, but they kind of rate a little high on my dodgyness-meter.

So I'd really like to hear from people who have good experiences with an existing VOIP provider. Thanks in advance for any advice.
posted by krisak to Technology (13 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Sorry that this isn't a positive recommendation, but there was recently a scathing expose of Magic Jack on Boing Boing, which may be enough to put them right out of the running.
posted by pocams at 5:45 PM on April 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

http://www.les.net For Canada, For the US I'm not too sure.
posted by br4k3r at 5:48 PM on April 22, 2008

I've been really happy with les.net as well. I'm currently US-based, and have used Les's services both here and overseas. The phone numbers that I buy from them (him -- it's a one-man plus assistants sort of operation) are in California area codes.

I was mostly happy with broadvoice, which offers a more polished, consumer friendly product (but still allows you to bring your own device, and/or connect with Asterisk or Callweaver). Ultimately, though, all I cared about was my calls going through at a cheap rate -- and in that regard, les.net (and voipjet for calls to certain countries, but they don't offer dial-in numbers) have everyone else beat, hands down.
posted by toxic at 6:15 PM on April 22, 2008

I have a Gizmo account, and use a regular phone hooked up through a PAP2NA box. The rates are not bad, and if you'd like you can buy a call in number. Better yet, because Gizmo is for almost all purposes identical to Skype, you can make and receive calls from your computer when you are away from home.
posted by TheyCallItPeace at 6:31 PM on April 22, 2008

Do you have access to Broadband? Skype is pretty good for all sorts of landline calls, including international and long-distance. Now that they have some fixed price plans, it is even more economic if you make international calls a lot. The quality is usually good (and you obviously have a PC and internet access, if you are posting here ... :-)
posted by Susurration at 6:46 PM on April 22, 2008

I've had great experience with Voicepulse. Good service, and shockingly good support. I've had 2 minor problems, both were fixed, and both times, the support rep actually contacted me to tell me the problem was fixed. After my Vonage and Sunrocket experiences, this was a very welcome change.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 6:51 PM on April 22, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses. I should have added that I'm avoiding Skype, too. Partially because of the dodgyness factor, and partially because I'd like to use a dedicated VOIP device.
posted by krisak at 7:17 PM on April 22, 2008

I am still pretty happy with ViaTalk despite the whole E911 charge thing, which they admittedly could have communicated better. I'm simply not aware of any providers offering the same level of features (including free softphone and full admin access to your adapter) at anything like that price. I am coming up on the end of my first contract with them this summer and plan to renew for another year.
posted by kindall at 7:46 PM on April 22, 2008

I've had good luck with Voicepulse, listed above, and VOIPStreet.

Both have been on the termination provider side, not the end-user side - I run a few Asterisk installs.

In any case, I expect that if the bulk termination side is good, the consumer level stuff should be pretty good.

I'm not sure if either of these providers do E911 (the installations I support have a regular land-line as backup as well, so we route 911 through that...)
posted by tomierna at 9:31 PM on April 22, 2008

I've never had to call Vonage support. The service is great, the cost is great, I'm a long time very happy customer. Maybe you want more customer service than a VOIP is going to provide...
posted by ewkpates at 4:29 AM on April 23, 2008

I have speakeasy onelink with VOIP. They provide the DSL and the VOIP and I haven't had any significant problems with either. Customer service has been great and they are very helpful for IT savvy customers (they don't hang up if you're running Linux and they'll tell you all the low level information you need to set up the network yourself).
posted by true at 6:19 AM on April 23, 2008

I've had Lingo for a couple years now, no problems. Very happy. Customer Service has been great to deal with (some billing issues changing cards), and the service has always just worked...
posted by pupdog at 5:17 PM on April 23, 2008

Been with Vonage for about 3 years now and while I have to admit it got a bit iffy during the whole legal issues they were dealing with, they never let me down. I have dealt with customer service on a few seperate occasions to get help tweaking my account in ways they didn't really explain well on their site. In all cases, they were quick to respond, easy to work with, and even did the modifications without charge (fees WERE mentioned on their site but they waived them). All in all, have to say it's one of the BEST customer services I've dealt with over all. Also to note, all of the parts of their site that were confusing or just not detailed enough, have steadily been improved, so they do pay attention to those things as well and don't just wait for you to call or make an error that inccurs fees (ala ATT).

I also like that it works with dedicated VoIP hardware, and I can plug one box in and convert an entire house to VoIP easily. The plans that require a computer are just... eh. Too cumbersome.

Maybe a second look isn't too bad of an idea?
Either way, I'd be curious to know who you settle on and why.
posted by mr.anthony337 at 7:59 AM on July 31, 2008

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